News

Health Centers Rebuild: Thanks to Our Supporters

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Texas health centers, our staff, and patients were hit hard during Hurricane Harvey. Severe flooding impacted clinic operations, prevented staff from getting to work, and put patient lives at risk across Southeast Texas. As health centers and our communities recover, we wanted to share with you some of our incredible stories of giving and resilience, and thank everyone who made these past weeks possible. Below are our stories. Have something to add? Email cweaver@tachc.org.

If you would like to support health centers and their staff in rebuilding, you can donate here.


Preparing for Harvey

Direct Relief has been a constant presence on the ground supporting Texas community health centers by supplying hygiene and medical supplies. They ensured emergency kits were in place from Gonzales to Galveston and Beaumont to Conro before the storm even hit. After the storm, they supplied much needed tetanus shots to several Houston centers and made grant funds available to help health centers whose staff had been affected get back to full operations.

 


Disaster Response

Health Opportunities for the People of East Texas (HOPE Project), a Tenaha, TX health center, sent the first CHC volunteer team that went into the disaster area. The team assisted those being rescued from and evacuating from Hurricane Harvey flooding. The team included CEO Mike Belgard, PA, CFO Richard Pinkston, COO Tracey Cain, LVN, Becky Griffin, FNP, Savannah Green, LVN, Renee Bridges, RN, MSW, Lauren Jackson from the billing department, and Charlie and Mary Duke from the Board of Directors.

As recovery progressed, Gulf Coast CHC’s staff was stretched thin and needed two LVNs to stand in for existing staff trying to clear out their possessions from flooded homes and deal with flood-based evictions. Almost immediately, the COO of Hope Project, Tracie Cain, LVN, and her staff, Savannah Green, LVN, volunteered to return as individuals on leave, bring needed supplies, and stay with family just outside the disaster. The pair drove in daily for several days to provide assistance.


Recovery

Michael Luna, Director of Pharmacy at United Medical Centers in Eagle Pass travelled to Houston for several days to repackage donation drugs as required by law to enable their distribution via the donated Bee Busy Wellness Center and Spring Branch CHC mobile units. AccessHealth Pharmacist Lupe Hollingsworth also provided resources and advice. Community Health Service Agency in Greenville extended their pharmacy license and Pharmacist in Charge to allow the set up of these mobile unit pharmacies as emergency remote pharmacy locations.

 

Mobile Units to the Rescue!

Responding to devastating conditions in southeastern Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey, a Clinica Sierra Vista packed two mobile care units and sent them into the deluge.

In addition to our California colleagues sending their two mobile clinics, Mike Hill, CEO of PanCare of Florida sent a mobile clinic to Spring Branch CHC’s severely flooded Katy site. Katy staff has been seeing patients in it since September 5th. PanCare fared well when Hurricane Irma hit, and their mobile clinic is still being well-used in Katy.

HRSA and the Texas Pharmacy Board both worked through weekends to ensure changes in scope and pharmacy licenses received expedited processing for volunteers and mobile pharmacies to get in place.

 

Continued Recovery

Dr. Jeanne LeBlanc travelled from Canada to lend her expertise on translating best practices in psychology into skill training for disaster response; she will be visiting with a variety of center staff in Texas.

AmeriCares has been providing a variety of resources, including a locked cabinet to Gulf Coast CHC after their pharmacy was looted. They have also provided bug repellant for a number of centers across the disaster area.

Texas Oral Health Coalition worked with MidwestDental to donate needed dental hygiene kits to Pasadena Health Center and Health Center of Southeast Texas.


NACHC hosted a call with PCAs to enable offers of volunteers and donations.

Individual donors to the TACHC fund ranging from staff from health centers and PCAs across the country, as well as TACHC and NACHC staff. Please see the full list of our generous individual donors below. Further, a number of sister centers have “adopted” health centers in Hurricane Harvey’s wake; for example Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers of Wisconsin has raised moral support and funds for gift cards, cash to reimburse staff rerouted mileage to work, cleaning supplies, socks, sheets and pillows for the staff of Stephen F. Austin Community Health Network of Alvin, TX.

  • Lee Davila
  • Emilia Garcia 
  • Catherine Abrams
  • Maria Tamez
  • Jana Bosse
  • Stefanie Lindeman
  • Ralph Silber
  • Donald Thompson (StayWell Health Care)
  • Colleen Meiman
  • Kathryn Wells
  • Camille Goldstein
  • Annette Kowal
  • Rebecca Rice (Northlakes CHC - Wisconsin)
  • Kathleen Morrow
  • Diana Shaw
  • Kersten Lausch
  • Jonie Sarme
  • Kay Roth
  • Daniel Diaz
  • Sheri Buser
  • Eric Frank
  • Anonymous
  • Karen Thompson
  • Taylor Miranda
  • Andrea Martin
  • Mountain Family Health Centers
  • McOmber Enterprise LLC
  • Holly Kingsbury
  • Hannaway & Johnson
  • Su Clinica
  • Chris Butterfield
  • Julie Hulstein
  • Alexander Hasha
  • Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN)
  • Rachel Steinberg
  • Polly E. Anderson
  • Kristin S. Laux
  • Angela R. Rose
  • Jon Ell Ashbrook
  • Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States (CHAMPS)
  • Valerie L. Steinmetz
  • Henry Schein Cares Foundation
  • Pak Orchard Community Health Center
  • Center for Family Health
  • Corinne Medina

Our Texas Centers Respond

The dozens of centers directly hit by Hurricane Harvey have inspiring staff that worked hard before, during and after the storm despite some losing their homes, cars, and entire neighborhoods to the storm. They have shown tremendous dedication to helping others recover as they recover themselves. Here are a few highlights:

  • Bee Busy Wellness Center had their rapid refill program in place before the storm and filled needed prescriptions immediately after the storm, including for patients who could not access the clinic due to flooding – then they got the donated Sierra Vista mobile clinic and got out to patients.

  • Asian American Health Coalition dba HOPE Clinic made sure they were open for walk-ins before the flood waters even receded from the neighborhood and shared a screening tool with TACHC for all centers to use.

  • Community Health Centers of South Central Texas allowed staff to overnight in the clinic when they couldn’t get back to their homes in Victoria and brought in food, water, gasoline and more.

  • Many centers such as St. Hope Foundation and Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program opened sites despite repairs being needed and worked around challenges to provide services.

  • Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation used their mobile clinic to get to hard hit areas starting Monday and got to patients as soon as the military allowed them into the affected area.

  • Pasadena Health Center has been supporting the Pasadena area emergency shelters with everything from personnel to diapers for weeks.

  • Healthcare for the Homeless is following shelter residents to a public housing unit the city set up.

There are so many incredible stories of getting back to operations as soon as possible to serve center patients that we can’t fit them all here. Weeks after Hurricane Harvey first made landfall, we know the road to normalcy is still long for Houston and Gulf Coast CHCs and their staff and patients. We couldn’t be more grateful to our partners, peers and friends for their continued generosity as TACHC supports its member centers in their response to this disaster.